Press Release

Hanyu wins men's title; Russians lead dance

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the junior men's title in Sweden.
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the junior men's title in Sweden. (Getty Images)

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(03/12/2010) - The ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2010 continued in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Thursday with the original dance and the men's free skate.

Ilynikh/Katsalapov (RUS) strengthen lead in original dance
Elena Ilynikh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia strengthened their lead in the original dance, but below them, the standings shuffled. Canadians Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam moved up from fifth to second and Russia's Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin pulled up from fourth to third place.

Skating last out of the 30 couples, Ilynikh and Katsalapov produced a fluid performance to South American folklore that was highlighted by intricate footwork and a straight line lift. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned a Level 4 for all four elements in the dance and received a personal best score of 59.94 points (32.10/27.84). Their total score added up to 97.46 points.

"Our program went well today. There was a nice support from the crowd and you really feel that in competition," Katsalapov said.

"There were a few minor errors in the programs, errors that probably only we and our coaches noticed and not the spectators and the judges, but we know what we have to work on for the future," Ilynikh added.

Paul and Islam interpreted a soft Spanish Waltz and a passionate Flamenco, showing precision and speed throughout the program. The Canadians got a Level 4 for the twizzles, the lift and the diagonal step sequence while the side-by-side footwork was graded a Level 3. Paul and Islam scored 55.90 points (30.20/25.70) and improved significantly on their previous seasons best of 47.91 points. Overall they now have 89.22 points.

"We are very happy with tonight. We wanted to come out and to basically skate our personal best and that's exactly what we did. We were confident going into the OD this afternoon. We had a good skate two days ago (in the compulsory dance)," Islam told the press.

Performing a characteristic Ukrainian folk dance, Monko and Khaliavin completed difficult twizzles and a whirling rotational lift. The twizzles were a Level 4, but the circular steps garnered only a Level 2. The ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions earned 53.55 points (27.40/26.15) and accumulated 87.72 points so far.

"Our performance was good, there were a few glitches, but overall it was clean and our coach was happy with it," Khaliavin said.

Reigning world junior silver medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (USA) slipped from third to fourth. Their Japanese dance was solid, but the side-by-side footwork received only a Level 2. At 86.94 points, they are still close to the podium.

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) claims men's title
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan claimed the title in an exciting men's event. China's Nan Song surged from fifth place to take the silver medal and Artur Gachinski of Russia came from sixth to earn the bronze.

Hanyu, who was ranked third in the short program, turned in a strong performance to "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" by Sergei Rachmaninov that featured two triple Axels, a triple Salchow-triple toe loop combination as well as three more triples and fast, well centered spins. The only glitch in his fluid routine was a wobbly triple flip. The 15-year-old picked up a personal best score of 147.35 points (77.95 element score/69.40 program component score) and racked up a total of 216.10 points to take his first medal at the World Junior Championships.

Hanyu had finished 12th in his debut at the event in 2009. He is the fourth Japanese man to win the world junior title.

"Today, I am very happy to win this competition and I am satisfied with today's performance, including the jumps, steps and spins. I did my best. I am very happy to win, but I am even happier with the performance itself," Hanyu said.

Song skated first in the final flight and set the bar high with a powerful performance to Ennio Morricone soundtracks, hitting a triple Axel, a big triple Axel-triple toe loop combination and three other triple jumps. Only a triple Lutz was shaky. The Chinese earned a Level 4 for two spins and scored 137.28 points (73.68/63.60), setting a new personal best for himself. Overall he collected 205.25 points and is the first Chinese man to win a silver medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

"I am extremely pleased with my performance today. This was my last time to compete at the World Junior Championships and I didn't want to have any regrets," the 19-year-old commented. "The size of the medal is not so important. This medal gives me so much honor and when I look at it, it brings back pleasant memories."

Skating last to "Narcissus - Whispers from the Mirror," Gachinski popped his planned opening quadruple toe loop into a double, but then went on as if nothing had happened and nailed two triple Axels, five more triple jumps and two Level 4 spins. The 16-year-old posted 133.99 points (69.79/64.20), a new personal best score, and with 199.19 points overall took the bronze in his debut at junior worlds.

"The quad didn't work out, but all the other elements were good and I am satisfied," Gachinski told the press. "Maybe there wasn't enough preparation for the quad as this was the first time for me to try it in competition. Maybe I wasn't ready for it, but I felt confident. I'll work on it for the future."

Keegan Messing (USA), who stood in second place after the short program, dropped to fourth. He landed seven triple jumps, but went down on a triple Axel (197.03). Overnight leader Grant Hochstein (USA) fell on a triple Axel as well and struggled with three other jumps to drop to fifth (194.30 points). Andrei Rogozine (CAN) vaulted from 13th to sixth with a strong performance that included eight triples (179.81 points).